Former Karnataka MP Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi passes away

Mr. Saradagi, the two-time Lok Sabha member from Kalaburagi, was a close friend of Congress President M. Mallikarjun Kharge for 40 years

Updated - May 23, 2024 04:19 am IST

Published - May 22, 2024 09:06 am IST - Kalaburagi

Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi.

Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi. | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Senior Congress leader Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi, who represented Kalaburagi twice in the Lok Sabha, passed away at a private hospital in Kalaburagi early on Wednesday. He was 80. He was suffering from age-related illness. He is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.

All India Congress Committee president Mallikarjun Kharge, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Priyank Kharge, Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil, and Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre were among the leaders who condoled the death of the senior Congressman.

Mr. Kharge preponed his scheduled arrival in Kalaburagi by three hours to pay respects. He arrived from New Delhi in a special flight and went to the National School premises where the mortal remains of Mr. Saradagi were kept.

Mr. Saradagi won the Lok Sabha elections from Kalaburagi by defeating his nearest rival, the BJP’s Basavaraj Patil Sedam, in 1999 with an impressive margin. The two leaders again faced each other in the next Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and Mr. Saradagi won to represent Kalaburagi for the second consecutive term.

When the constituency was reserved for Scheduled Castes after the delimitation of constituencies in 2008, another Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, who belonged to the SCs, replaced Mr. Saradagi. Mr. Saradagi was later elected as a MLC in 2014.

Born to Mohammed Ahmed Saradagi and Gauhar Begam on June 5, 1944, Mr. Saradagi obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Government Arts and Science College in Gulbarga and a Law degree from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He founded Al-Badar Educational and Charitable Trust and Al-Badar Rural Dental College in Kalaburagi.

Recalling his long-standing friendship with Mr. Saradagi, Mr. Kharge said that he was deeply shocked and saddened.

“Mr. Saradagi and I studied together in college. We later started practising law in the same court. We used to discuss our cases. He had good qualities such as mingling with everybody, taking people around him together and being friendly with everyone. After I became MLA, I tried to make him also an MLA but could not. But, we made him Block Congress Committee president, the post I quit after becoming the MLA. He later got a party ticket and won Lok Sabha elections in 1999 and 2004. We also made him MLC later. His death is a great loss to me and this region,” Mr. Kharge told reporters.

“Mr. Saradagi was simple and friendly by nature. The pro-people concerns were imitable. With his demise, the Congress has lost a loyal leader,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said in his condolence message.

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